Director Mark Schimmel, Sean Lowe In PSA

Director Mark Schimmel, Sean Lowe In PSA

Last year, thousands of families were left devastated by the destruction of Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma — and many suffered the added heartbreak of being separated from their pets. Timed with the start of hurricane season, the Banfield Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving pets and the people who love them, has partnered with TV personality and Hurricane Harvey responder, Sean Lowe, on a public service announcement (PSA) to help pet owners prepare for the unexpected.

Check out the spot here.

“Last year, I experienced firsthand the devastation and despair Hurricane Harvey caused for many of my fellow Texans. While on the ground, I saw people clinging to their pets during rescues – and heard stories of far too many helpless pets stranded or displaced amidst the chaos,” Lowe said. “I can’t imagine my life without my dog Ellie, so I’m honored to partner with the Banfield Foundation to educate pet owners on the simple yet potentially life-saving steps they can take for their four-legged family members before disaster strikes.”

Despite last year’s catastrophic hurricane season, a 2018 survey conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital® revealed a staggering 91 percent of pet owners are not prepared for the next disaster. To combat this reality, the Banfield Foundation’s PSA highlights steps pet owners can take now to limit challenges and stress in the event of a future emergency:

• Create a pet disaster preparedness kit in partnership with your veterinarian that includes basic survival needs, including up to seven days’ worth of food and water, two weeks’ worth of medications, important documents like medical and vaccination records, microchip information, and a photo of you with your pet in case of separation.

• In the event of a natural disaster, never leave your pets behind—in vehicles, tethered or crated without you or a member of your family. To help avoid having to make such a difficult choice, identify and create a list of places to evacuate with your pets in preparation, such as pet-friendly hotels or boarding facilities, and include contact information and addresses for each. Also include contact information for your veterinarian, as well as emergency veterinarians in nearby cities in your kit.

• Ensure your pets are microchipped. Banfield also found more than half of those surveyed do not have their pet microchipped. Microchipping is one of the best ways to ensure pets are returned to their owners if they get lost or separated. In addition to ensuring your pet is always wearing up-to-date identification tags, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping your pets and ensure your account and contact information is kept current to increase the likelihood of a reunion if your pet gets loose amidst chaos.

“Sean touched the lives of so many affected by Hurricane Harvey — his courage paired with his passion for pets made him the perfect partner to lend his voice to the Banfield Foundation’s PSA on pet disaster preparedness,” said Kim Van Syoc, Executive Director of the Banfield Foundation. “Natural disasters can strike anywhere or anytime, but preparation can make a big difference in helping keep families safe — and that includes your pets. We hope this PSA inspires pet owners everywhere to make disaster planning a priority this hurricane season.”

Pictured: Director Mark Schimmel and Bill Nielsen, DOP.